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UK jobs recruitment drive falls short of diversity and inclusion targets

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UK jobs recruitment drive falls short of diversity and inclusion targets
The most common action to boost diversity and inclusion is to review job descriptions to check for potential bias against people with protected characteristics. Photo: Getty

UK businesses are trying to boost diversity and inclusion (D&I) when recruiting new candidates but only half say their practices are actually effective in making a positive contribution.

XpertHR conducted a survey in which 95% of organisations said they are taking action to improve D&I when attracting and selecting potential employees.

But just 55% rated their recruitment and selection practices as "effective" or "very effective" in making a positive contribution to their firm’s D&I strategy.

The report said this highlights the need to develop and implement more effective measures to create more inclusive recruitment practices.

Watch: Diversity and inclusion is a 'business imperative', says Top ad exec Karen Blackett

“Businesses are facing ever higher levels of scrutiny over the actions they take to improve diversity and inclusion, with employees and potential employees bringing increased attention to whether or not these actions — including recruitment practices — are meaningful and bring about genuine positive change,” said Michael Carty, benchmarking editor at XpertHR.

Read more: Businesses that don’t prioritise diversity are ‘tactically short sighted’

The most common action to boost diversity and inclusion is to review job descriptions to check for potential bias against people with protected characteristics, with 64% of firms stating they do this.

This is followed by ensuring commitment to D&I is a core part of corporate branding (54%), and training employees conducting job interviews to avoid types of questions that can be perceived as discriminatory (52%).

One organisation in four (25%) uses "blind recruitment" — most remove all identifying information before passing job applications to managers for initial sifting.

Half of respondents said they communicate their D&I strategy to recruitment agencies while 46% collect and use diversity data to assess and improve their reach to diverse populations.

Only 23% talk to diverse communities when deciding on candidate-attraction methods.

"How and whom organisations recruit and retain provides a direct and visible demonstration of how seriously the organisation takes diversity and inclusion," said Carty.

“Not only could a failure to boost diversity and inclusion in recruitment processes lock out top talent from being selected, it could also affect the organisation’s reputation, as clear commitments to D&I are an increasingly important factor for many job candidates," he added.

Read more: Recruitment of Black graduates failing to impact racial injustice at work

Earlier this year it was reported that FTSE companies could be forced to explain to investors why they have missed diversity targets set by the Financial Conduct Authority, which is mulling tougher rules on gender and ethnic minority representation.

The Parker Review out in March showed that 16 FTSE 100 (^FTSE) companies, including the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG.L), International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG.L) and BAE Systems (BA.L), have yet to appoint a single person of any ethnic background to their boards.

Watch: How to answer difficult interview questions

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